Ingredient Name: Ginseng Fruit, Sapodilla, or Manilkara zapot

Traditional Chinese Name: 人参果 (rénshēn guǒ)

What is this?

  • The fruit of the sapodilla tree (which is an evergreen) grown in warm climates
  • The fruit itself has a very sweet and malty taste
  • The name “ginseng” fruit comes from the Chinese name (where 人参 is the Chinese word for ginseng)
  • It is a heart shaped fruit that is about the size of a large plum (about 2-3 inches in diameter)
  • Ginseng fruit reminds me of white tomatoes! (The texture is more firm though.)
  • It is classified as a warming ingredient

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water
  • Cut into halves

Where can I buy this?

  • Asian supermarkets may carry this (although it depends on season)
  • Wet marts may also carry this (although I have never seen it – or maybe just haven’t asked for it yet)

What is the cost

  • Ginseng fruit is very affordable
  • Each costs around $2-3 HKD per fruit

Any benefits?

  • It is naturally sweet and adds a unique (ginseng-like) flavor to the soup without using real ginseng (which is more expensive)
  • Rich in essential trace elements (iron and zinc)
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C, B1, B2
  • Ginseng fruit is high in protein
  • The fruit is also low in fat
  • It is said to be anti-cancer, anti-aging, helps lower blood pressure and reduce blood sugar

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to use ripen ginseng fruit, as unripe contains an ingredient which dries the mouth

Additional Information

  • Can store fresh ginseng fruit in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.  You can feel the fruit for firmness.  If it’s not firm, discard.